Nov 15, 2007
Kids today clearly have a greater capacity for absorbing information from their Saturday morning TV - Code Lyoko is confusing as hell. Data clusters, sentient viruses, X.A.N.A., replica sectors - heaven knows what any of it means. And while the game is too mean to ease you in, its greater crime is betraying what is clearly a dense mythology with generic game design.
Strip away baffling terminology and you're left with a third-person action platformer that nabs liberally from the Metroid school of area backtracking. Only where Metroid at least tries to disguise how future exploring will unfold, Lyoko has a little face pop up to say "hey, come back later" every time you brush by a locked door or impossible leap.
Similarly clumsy is a camera designed to show off the refreshingly colourful, angular worlds of Lyoko, but which pays little heed to where you actually need to be looking. We thought trying to blast enemies tucked away off-screen went out of fashion on the N64. Still, the pointer-controlled blasting is otherwise Meet the Robinsons slick.
Select a character that doesn't rely on blasting and you have to put up with flaky collision detection and close-up waggle combat that causes graphical slowdown - inexplicable, considering the simplicity of the visuals. We may not know our 'digital sea' from our 'Skidblanir', but we know a dud when we see one.